Phone Tapping

Phone Tapping

Phone tapping was started in USA in 1890s when tape recorder was invented. It is also known as wire Tapping or Line Bugging. Phone tapping means secretly listening and recording any private telephonic conversation.

In today’s scenario cases of phone tapping is increasing day by day due to rise in technology. This may harm privacy of an individual and in some it can cause injury to the person. That’s why it is necessary to know that what we are supposed to do in case our phone is tapped, what are the laws to prevent from phone tapping what are the Remedies provided to us so let’s know about this all one by one.


Phone Tapping Laws in India

Phone tapping by an unauthorized or illegal way violates our very intrinsic fundamental right which is Right to privacy.

No one is entitled to violate our right to privacy through telephone Tapping. Even government can not tap our phone except some conditions.


Right to privacy :- fundamental right

Article 21 of Indian Constitution talks about Right to life and Right to Privacy also falls under right to life. Article 21 of the Constitution of India states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law”.

No one can interfere anyone’s privacy, family home, correspondence and also attack honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.


The right to privacy is an element of various legal traditions to restrain governmental and private actions that threaten the privacy of individuals.

In modern India, the issue of the right to privacy was discussed for the very first time in the debate of the Constituent Assembly, but it was not included in the Constitution of India. The issue of the right to privacy as a fundamental right under the Constitution and as a common law right has been dealt with since the 1960s.

Telephone tapping constitutes a grave invasion to the right to privacy. Telephonic conversation amounts to the exercise of the right to freedom of speech and expression of a person, which is protected by Article 19(2).No fundamental right is absolute they have some limitations and right to privacy also have some limitations. Telephone tapping is allowed in India in Section 5(2) of the Telegraph Act, 1885; but only under certain special circumstances .

Telephone tapping is governed by Indian telegraph Act Section 5(2) of telegraph act..

Indian telegraph act says that any state or central government can tap any phone private conversation only in the case of public emergency or safety but after taking permission from designated authority.

Telephone and other communication device’s are mentioned in constitution entry 31 of union list.


Intercept is act of listening conversation and recording conversation conducted by a third party.



An aggrieved person can approach court or file complain Human rights Commission if his phone is illegally tapped.


Importance cases of phone tapping

Chandra shekhar Phone tapping charges

It was a controversial case of 1990. Chandra shekhar was a former prime minister who served as Prime minister from 1990- 1991. He put allegations on government of tapping his and 27 others politician’s phone without any proper authorization . And government was unable to state the reason of that tapping. Later on CBI investigation was conducted and it was proved that government was tapping their phone without proper reason. PUCL filed an Public interest litigation in supreme Court.

PUCL – PUCL means people’s union of civil liberties is a Human rights Body which was established in 1976 By Jaiprakash Narayan.

PUCL vs Union of India 1996

In this case it was concluded that Telephone Tapping is Violation of Right to Privacy. And this also provided safe guards against state arbitrary surveillance power. Telephone tapping was declared as illegal.


As technology is developing day by day it has become more and more essential that the right to privacy is protected adequately. Our lives are excessively exposed to social media, which somehow put our privacy to risk in certain aspects. That’s why Right to Privacy is very important to us and it became fundamental right due to its importance in life.


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